Hazel Fern (Schlack) Bertsch, age 101, of Menno, SD, passed away peacefully Monday, January 30, 2017 at the Daugherty Hospice House, Sioux Falls, SD with her family by her side.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, February 2 at Grace Lutheran Church, Menno, SD with Rev. Theresa Jacobson officiating. Burial will be in the Menno Cemetery, Menno, SD.
Visitations will begin at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 1 at the Aisenbrey-Opsahl-Kostel Memorial Chapel, Menno, SD with a Scripture service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the service at the church.
Online condolences can be sent at www.opsahl-kostelfuneralhome.com.
Hazel was born on March 29, 1915, at the family farm in Arlington, SD, to Fred and Louise (Glaser) Schlack. Hazel was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Arlington. Her memory verse at her confirmation was John 14:23, a verse that she would remember and recite throughout her life.
Hazel was one of 16 children, four of whom died in infancy. She had many fond memories of her childhood days on the farm, especially helping her dad in the field and her responsibility for cleaning the cream separator, her country school days and hitching the horses to the sleigh. She also spoke of the struggles of the depression years.
Upon completing the 8th grade, she moved to Brookings to be a live-in nanny. With skills learned from watching her mother, Hazel was able to bring with her the love of cooking, baking and canning. The three children she cared for remained lifelong friends. She later moved to Sioux Falls and worked at the Manchester Biscuit Company. It was in Sioux Falls where she would meet her husband, William Bertsch, who had recently returned from service in WWII. They were united in marriage on December 7, 1945 and soon moved to Menno, where Bill managed the Farmers Union Co-op until his retirement. Together, they raised seven children. Bill passed away on April 1, 1977.
Hazel cherished her family. She felt her most important roles in life were to be a devoted wife and a good mother. She mastered these roles and lovingly committed herself to caring for her children. Hazel made her home a very happy place. She was never too tired to help with homework, mend a shirt at the end of the day or bake cookies, cakes and pies for every occasion. “Her children arise up and call her blessed” — Proverbs 31: 28. After raising her own children, she babysat a number of children in the community. Many of these children stayed in touch with her well into their adult lives.
Hazel welcomed all to her home with open arms. Her strength, her optimistic outlook on life and her quick wit and sense of humor followed her through life’s journey. Hazel loved gardening and flowers. She enjoyed the outdoors, whether it be fishing or sitting on her front or back porch. Hazel loved playing many games, especially Scrabble, Dominoes, Rummy, Yahtzee and cards. She was an expert at solving the Daily Jumble word puzzle.
Hazel was also a loyal Twins and Vikings fan and called them her teams, win or lose. No one was prouder than she of her little town of Menno. She often said, “Why would I want to leave my home in Menno? I have everything I need.”
Hazel’s faith in God was very strong and guided her throughout her life. She was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and was so grateful in the latter years to listen to the broadcast directly from church to her home. She loved to sing and was especially fond of church hymns, as they were a source of joy and comfort for her. She also enjoyed playing her harmonica for family and friends.
Grateful for sharing Hazel’s life include her seven children: Betty Fideler, Sharon (Robert) Reilly, William (Audrey) Bertsch, all of Sioux Falls, SD, James Bertsch, (Dan Mahood) of Richfield, MN, Janice Bertsch of Menno, SD, Ron (Linda) Bertsch of Sioux Falls, SD and LuAnn Bertsch (Paul Buysse) of Alexandria, MN; seven grandchildren: Lisa (Clint) Haensel of Hartford, SD, Bill (Jennifer) Bertsch of Sioux Falls, SD, Robert Reilly of Fort Myers, FL, Nathan (Jenny) Bertsch of Sioux Falls, SD, Joshua Bertsch of Mineappolis, MN, Emily (Jeff) Costello of Brandon, SD and Benjamin (Jeannie) Bertsch of Sioux Falls, SD; nine great-grandchildren: Makenzie and Brooke Haensel, Zoie and Zander Bertsch, Madyson and Jackson Bertsch, Beckett and Emmett Costello, and Hannah Bertsch; her sister, Lorraine Stevens of Virginia and also special to Hazel are many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Hazel was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband of 32 years, William, a son-in-law, Mike Fideler; 14 siblings and infant great-granddaughter, Brynlee Grace Costello.
Yankton Press & Dakotan
February 1, 2017